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2010’s New York ‘Local Heroes’

Metro asked our readers to nominate those New Yorkers who worked to make a difference in others’ lives. Here are some of those individuals — we salute you.

Metro asked our readers to nominate those New Yorkers who worked to make a difference in others’ lives. Here are some of those individuals — we salute you.

» Camille Loccisano: After Camille Loccisano’s oldest son Frankie died three years ago of cancer at age 17, she established a nonprofit memorial foundation in his name that provides financial help to the families of children with cancer. In addition, she works as a teacher for children with learning disabilities at the Child-Legacy School on Roosevelt Island.

» Frederick Quijano: Raised in New York from the age of 3, Frederick Quijano, an immigrant from the Philippines, spearheaded “Lyrics for Literacy,” an event focused on raising funds and collecting books to develop libraries in poverty-stricken areas. His hard work has inspired kids both in his community and an ocean away.

» Maya Nussbaum: As a 22-year-old senior at Columbia University, Maya Nussbaum founded Girls Write Now in order to help young New York City girls ages 13-20 prepare for college and improve their writing skills. Now, the after-school nonprofit has grown to help more than 3,000 young women, often from some of the city’s most overcrowded public schools, prepare for college.

»Brendan Marrocco: On Easter Sunday 2009, U.S. Army Specialist Brendan Marrocco lost all four of his limbs to a roadside bomb in Baghdad. The Staten Islander is the first veteran in Iraq or Afghanistan to survive a quadruple amputation after being so critically injured. Liz Stephens said she nominated Marrocco because “He looks forward to life and he has given mothers and fathers a chance to hope for a more secure life for their children.”

Femme power

These four women help make NYC a better place.

» Gloria Wallace: Gloria Wallace is the director of Harbor House, a substance abuse and alcoholism treatment program for homeless adults. Wallace has served as the program’s director for only six months, but has worked as a counselor in New York City for more than a decade.

» Victoria Watkins: After moving to Madison Avenue near Madison Square Park, Victoria Watkins wanted her ’hood’s sidewalk cracks and street signs to match the grandeur of its prewar buildings. Her one-woman cleanup operation included removing stickers and graffiti, buying paint to cover lamp posts and getting 14 trees installed.

» Oraia Reid: The founder and executive director of RightRides, Oraia Reid started a car rides program in 2004 after an increase of sexual assaults against women walking home alone. Using her own car, she started giving women rides home to keep them safe. She focused on Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Manhattan’s Lower East Side, but now that Zipcar is sponsoring vehicles, volunteers escort women in four boroughs.

» Joyce McDonald: Despite decades of being HIV positive, Joyce McDonald remains the most positive person in any crowd, say those who love her. This grandmother runs the AIDS Ministry for Brooklyn’s Church of the Open Door, and helps distribute clothes to those in need at fellow AIDS patients’ residences and local shelters.

 
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